Jay Teel

Submitted / The Herald Wetumpka’s Jay Teel has qualified for the state tournament in each of the last two seasons.

The 23rd annual AHSAA North-South All-Star Sports Week will include tennis for the first time in the event’s history and Wetumpka will have a representative. Jay Teel, who has qualified for the last two state tournaments, was one of 15 rising seniors selected to participate for the South squad in Montgomery on Thursday morning.

“I didn’t really know what it was at first but I was still excited about it,” Teel said. “We did a little bit of research online to find out what it was so I’m just ready to get down there.”

Teel was the No. 6 seed in the Class 6A No. 1 singles tournament this season, improving six spots after being the 12th seed during his sophomore year. Teel was defeated in the first round of the tournament in both seasons but he thinks this week’s events can help him get over the hump for senior year.

“I think it will be encouraging to get to be around that much talent,” Teel said. “It will show me that there are better players out there and maybe I can learn some things that will make me better.”

While playing tennis is the top priority for the week, Teel said he is looking forward to spending time with players from the other teams. The teams report to AUM on Wednesday before staying the night on campus and playing Thursday morning at the Montgomery Country Club.

“I really just want to get there and meet some of the other players,” Teel said. “I don’t know any of the other guys down there so I’m just hoping to make some new friends and play some tennis.”

­The all-star week typically provides one of the largest stages for athletes to compete on in the state and even though it is unclear how it will affect tennis, the AHSAA is hoping for a successful event. Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association Jamie Lee said he is excited for a chance to display the state’s talent in tennis.

Teel said he does not feel like the stage will impact how he plays though. He said he thinks his experience at the state tournament should help him ease into his game.

“I don’t feel any extra pressure with that,” Teel said. “I just want to do my best and play tennis like I usually do and see what happens.”

The biggest goal of the week for Teel is to finding ways to make himself better so he can help Wetumpka have a more successful season next year. The Indians finished with a 10-2 record as a team last season but Teel sees even higher potential for him and his teammates for his senior season.

“I think the biggest thing is improving my mindset,” Teel said. “I want to get better so we can win more next season than we ever have before.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.